Life Lately: End of Term

Life Lately, current joys. I sit here on the last morning before school ends for Christmas. Christmas productions done, Christmas jumpers worn. Presents wrapped, cards send. Enjoying the stillness of the house and rather than be daunted by two weeks of holidays, which in the past I have been, I am excited for the holidays and Christmas. This year is Christmas at home and I’m happy with that.

The next two weeks are about slowing down. Vaguely; walks (woods, fields and National Trust) and nesting at home, over indulging on cheese and chocolate, long mornings in PJs, afternoons of Christmas films (we have Elf and The Polar Express. ITV is showing ALL the Harry Potter films). Throwing in at some point a family trip the cinema to see ‘Rogue One’. The only plan is no fixed plan other than to stay local.

Before October half term, I was exhausted. These last weeks I’ve paced myself, been in touch with friends, spend most evenings away from the internet. To reach this term end feeling surprisingly on top of to do lists and life, feels like a victory. Adding to that, this time last year I was struggling with anxiety. All this contributes to a feeling of positive expectation for the next two weeks, the last two of 2016.

Things I’ve been loving lately:

Planet Earth II, beautifully filmed celebration of our planet and the things we should treasure. My favourite is the ‘Cities’ episode. Which is yours?

‘This is Us’ a series on Channel 4, two episodes in, each with a twist.

Still binge watching the Gilmore Girls as an alternative to evenings spent internet faffing

Desert Island Discs with Davina McCall (on this morning 16th December), I’m a long time fan of Desert Island Discs and especially loved Davina’s candor. Radio 4 have an incredible archive of decades of Desert Island Discs. Danny Baker is definitely worth a listen. I started to list my favourites but there are too many. Suggest you just dig in, makes the perfect background for a Christmas wrapping session, while baking or to accompany a long hot bath.


Loving life lately. Current joys. My love for the city of Bristol. Minor victories.

Last week, we walked up the river after school and I thought about how much I love living in Bristol. The river, the path (it’s called the chocolate path) the light, Christmas trees twinkling in windows, the slow amble along the path that delivers us to the harbour side and the city centre; everything made me smile. December marks 4 years since we unpacked our boxes in the South West. The decision to move was based on love at first sight. Like a scene from a Victorian novel, we saw the city and wanted to marry it without really getting to know the place.

We just knew it was the place for us and it hasn’t disappointed. There have, like the river, been ebbs and flows, high tides and low tides. It’s takes a while to get to know a complicated, sprawling, multi-layered city. It feels familiar now, more comfortable. Like growing into a school blazer, not so new, but the fit is better. Now coat fits, we don’t intend to grow out of it.

Neighbourhoods, markets, street art and street food. The cafes and developments, the buildings and history, that make the fabric of the city. The numerous events, festivals and ideas that the people of Bristol embrace and support, it is a thriving, vibrant place to live. Add to that the friends we’ve made, our home, our street. We are very lucky.

At the end of a year which has been pretty ‘pants’ for various reasons, I think it’s good to celebrate victories, however minor, and count your blessings.


  1. Thinly Spread

    Four years?! Goodness, how time has flown! I love this post, I was sitting here at my desk with my chin in my hand just reading your words and feeling warmth and calmness blanketing me. I also love that video of Bristol, it makes it look like toy town! We were there last week for an evening and it was so beautiful and so welcoming, I’d forgotten just how lovely it is and I have made a resolution to visit again, often. I hope we can meet for a wander or cake, or both. Much love and a Happy Christmas to you and yours xxx

    1. helloitsgemma

      Ah, thank you so much for your lovely words. It made me so happy to see your comment pop up. It is the toy town aspect that I love, how do they do that? Hope to see you soon, Happy Christmas to you and yours too. X

  2. Molly

    This is like a comforting warm mince pie and cup of mulled wine to my weary frazzled self. I’m really looking forward to slowing down a bit over the next couple of weeks too. We’re at home for the next 9 days and, like you, I plan to veg out, go for walks, binge on Gilmore Girls and just hang out with the family. We have a busy period of travel and family and friends after Christmas but I’m looking forward to that too, as I think we’ll be ready for a change of scene by then. Love this post – and love that video at the end. I’m bringing Freya to Bristol for a girls’ weekend with my mum in 2017 and I can’t wait to show her the city that her mum grew up in!

  3. Gemma Evans

    Planet Earth II is a fantastic series, I haven’t seen the Cities episode yet though! We are spending Christmas at home too this year, really looking forward to it. Going away is nice but I think we will feel more rested for a few days at home — its been a busy year. Enjoy your Christmas Gemma!

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